When you start applying for different scholarships, you may notice that everyone completes the application process for the same reason: to win scholarships that reduce tuition fees. Depending on the scholarship you are applying for, you may be one of hundreds from applicants. Many high school and college students join the search for scholarships to find ways to pay for school that don’t involve taking student loans. Since scholarships are basically “free money” and there are a lot of people applying, you may be wondering, “what are scholarships looking for?” Here are 10 tips that can help make you stand out from every other scholarship applicant.
1. Organize and prepare your materials
Organization is key to filling scholarships, financial aid, and even college applications. When you start applying for a scholarship—whether it’s an athletic, academic, or need-based scholarship—you may need to provide a lot of paperwork to submit. Transcripts, letters of recommendation, and essays are often required for any college scholarship award. Even if you have until the deadline to submit your application, it’s best to avoid waiting until the last minute to complete it. Try making a calendar with all your scholarship deadlines, and make your list voluntary engagement, extracurricular activities, and transcripts ready when it’s time to apply. Update your materials throughout the school year to ensure that they are accurate for your application.
2. Request letters of recommendation early
When requesting a letter of recommendation from a teacher, advisor, coach, boss, or coworker, try to ask the person at least four (4) weeks in advance. This will ensure that they have plenty of time to write letters. To make the process easier on them, you will want to provide them with a file with your personal information, activities, awards, leadership engagements, error free resume, and information about specific scholarships. While the scholarship does not require a letter of recommendation, you may have the option to attach additional relevant documents. A well-written letter of recommendation can increase your chances of making a good impression on the scholarship committee.
3. Pay attention to the details
When it comes to scholarships, it’s worth reading the fine print. Scholarship applications can come with broad criteria and unique requirements. Some instructions call for a specific way to format the title of your document or your own essay. Others may have different deadlines or specific ways to upload the required documents. Paying attention to all the details can make or break whether your app stays running or lands itself on top of the disapproval stack. It is advisable to follow all requirements and maintain scholarship etiquette during any application and correspondence.
4. Write an original essay every time
You may be tempted to copy and paste an essay you have written for a previous scholarship into a future scholarship application. However, it is important to write original content for any scholarships that require an essay. While various scholarships may ask you to describe your experience or goals, each request can vary slightly. Even if you make tweaks here and there to an existing essay, such as updating your introduction, the scholarship judging committee will likely be able to tell that the essay was originally written with a different thought. Make sure you read the prompt a few times to fully understand what it’s asking for. You’ll be heading soon write amazing scholarship essays in a short time.
5. Know your audience
If you want to make your essay more interesting, you must know your audience. Be sure to research who is offering scholarships, as they may be foundations, religious groups, brands, local businesses, financial aid offices, or even individuals. Familiarize yourself with their mission, events, charities, donations, and any additional information that may be useful. Having this knowledge can help direct your essay to that organization, which results in more engaging work. For example, if you are applying for a scholarship from an environmental group and are dedicated to recycling, you could explain how your passion aligns with being an environmental activist. You can take it one step further by linking your essay to the mission of the organization that offers the scholarship.
6. Emphasize what makes you unique
Many scholarships are based on the uniqueness of the applicant. even there unique or “weird” scholarships that celebrates your individuality and doesn’t follow the traditional list of requirements. Whether the scholarship is traditional or unconventional, putting your interests and perspectives on the page will help you create a memorable essay. Share experiences and activities that make you You. Maybe your dream career is to become a fashion designer for the world’s top design company. You’ll likely share your experience designing clothes and whatever fashion internships you’ve been in. A heartwarming volunteer story or entrepreneurial spirit can help propel your application to the top. Consider what you can say about yourself that most other people won’t be able to say about themselves, and run with it.
7. Show your personality and passion
When writing a scholarship essay, don’t forget to include your personality. You’ll want to make sure your essay is true to yourself and your passions. Since there are many, sometimes hundreds of apps, you should avoid speaking in general terms. Instead, share your personal stories, feelings, and experiences. Maybe you decided to work in the health sector because you lost your parents to illness. You can write about how you started a writing club to run workshops and criticize each other’s work because you are passionate about writing. Whatever the situation, each of these unique experiences has shaped you into the person you are today.
8. Present yourself professionally
Make sure you pay attention to the tone communicated in your writing. Scholarships are no stranger to professionalism. Your writing should reflect your seriousness as a professional, but it should also be genuine. You should not go out of your way to sound too sophisticated by using words that are not common in your vocabulary. The scholarship committee will be able to tell if the essay is filled with complicated words, especially if one is not used correctly. Depending on the application question or essay request, you may be able to get away with a cute opening line to grab attention. However, make sure you avoid sarcasm, emojis, text abbreviations like LOL, or slang terms like “lit”.
9. Correct every post
Proofreading is an important aspect of writing your scholarship essay and preparing all other required documents. Be sure to correct any grammatical and spelling errors, and double-check that you answered the command correctly. Try reading your essay aloud to see how it flows. This can help you catch grammatical errors or long-winded sentences that you may have missed while reviewing in your head. It also helps others to read your essay for missed mistakes. You don’t want to miss an opportunity to receive a scholarship because of poor grammar or missing punctuation.
10. Show your gratitude
once you looking for scholarship and fill in the required form, there is one last step to make your scholarship application stand out. Send a thank you note to scholarship providers for their time and consideration. This doesn’t need to be anything too formal, just the gesture itself can help. Sending a personal thank-you note shows that you value the opportunity to be considered. When you express your gratitude, don’t stop there. You should also send a thank you note to those who wrote your letter of recommendation.
When it comes to paying your tuition fees, scholarships can make a huge contribution. Now that you have learned the tips for scholarship applications, you will want to think about how you will make your application more attractive to the scholarship committee. Paying attention to detail, emphasizing your passion, and checking for mistakes are just some of the scholarship tips you should get used to. When you come across scholarship opportunities, focus on what makes you stand out from other scholarship applicants. Completing your scholarship application can be difficult, and may take a few tries. However, it will all be in vain when you find out that you were chosen as the winner.